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Upset by Yankees’ Role in Deal, Angels Consider Taking Action

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The last word on the Dave Winfield trade has yet to be said.

The Angels are exploring avenues of redress against the New York Yankees for attempting to obstruct the deal, which was agreed upon last Friday but not settled until late Wednesday.

The Angels were angered by New York’s premature announcement, as well as attempts by Yankee principal owner George Steinbrenner to persuade the Angels to accept Roberto Kelly or Alvaro Espinoza as compensation for Mike Witt after Winfield challenged the Yankees’ right to trade him. Steinbrenner also declared that he was not in favor of the deal made by his “baseball people.”

The Angels are expected to file a formal grievance in the next few days. General Manager Mike Port hinted at the possibility.

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“I’ve heard of things in the past being handled through the league or the commissioner’s office--if one were so inclined,” Port said Friday from his Anaheim Stadium office.

Asked to confirm the nature of the Yankees’ efforts to restructure the deal, Port replied: “I would not be at liberty to comment. If I said yes, I could prejudice some things. If I said no, it might have impact on some things. I have to cut a wide swath.”

On Wednesday, Winfield agreed to a three-year contract extension potentially worth $9.1 million. He grounded out as a pinch-hitter Thursday during a 6-3 loss to the Brewers in Milwaukee and was in the starting lineup for the first time Friday night.

Port reiterated his praise for the conduct of Winfield and Winfield’s agent, Jeff Klein, in the days leading to the agreement, again conspicuously omitting the Yankees from that citation.

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“The Angels have no problem whatsoever with Dave Winfield or Jeff Klein,” he said. “They were both forthright, businesslike and logical in the course of our negotiations. . . . The trade is over. Everything is properly consummated and so forth. We continue in our delight at having Dave Winfield with the Angels. Beyond that, well, one never knows.”


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